Webb’s Fair and Square, Masonic lodge hall gone art gallery, toasts to grand opening this weekend

Webb’s Fair and Square, an outsider art gallery, book store and more held in a historic Masonic lodge, will host its official grand opening this weekend with beer, barbecue and music at their location in Fort Davis. Photo courtesy of Webb Gallery.

FORT DAVIS — Webb’s Fair and Square, an outsider art gallery, book store and collection of Masonic artifacts housed in a historic 1906 building in downtown Fort Davis, will host a free community grand opening this Sunday, October 23, from 2 to 5 p.m. at their location on 105 Front Street. 

Owner-operators Julie and Bruce Webb purchased the old two-story structure, which once served as the local Masonic lodge, and adjacent adobe home — so named the “Scobee Adobe,” for its past inhabitant, local pulp fiction writer Barry Scobee — last spring from Jeff Davis County. Since then, the couple has been busy fixing the place up, as it had been largely inactive since the eighties, and first held a soft opening this July. 

Julie said the grand opening is a way for them to give back to the local community, whom they’ve felt supported and embraced by. “The spirit of the building just keeps growing, it seems. It’s always felt great, but the more we’re loving on it and doing in the building, it’s just feeling so good. We want to share that with everybody,” said Julie. 

On view in the downstairs gallery will be a selection of Texas outsider art, including paintings and cut outs by Jackie Dunn Smith, which Julie describes as “witty and elegant at the same time,” and delicate, tattoo flash-inspired ceramic decanters by Adam Shrewsbury. Vintage books and a curated collection of art supplies will also be available. 

Sunday’s shindig will also include a performance by sixties surf pop group The Ugly Beats, beers from Independence Brewing Company, and barbecue from Micklethwait, all Austin-based entities. “Getting a lot of people in that building, more people than that building has probably had in 100 years, it’s gonna feel great,” said Julie.

The upstairs gallery will have an installation of fraternal pieces from the Webb’s collection on display. The building is still a work in progress, but the duo has managed to make significant strides on the restoration in a short amount of time, due to help from the community and the fact that they “full spirited into it,” said Julie. 

Photo courtesy of Webb Gallery.

When they first bought the building, even the seemingly simple matter of how the utilities were run was a mystery, said Julie, but flash forward and the historic structure has a spiffed up kitchen and bathroom, new heating and air conditioning, outdoor shower, paint, and redone ceilings and walls. Their forthcoming addition will be a deck to appreciate the landscape on the second story. Newly-painted lime green hand lettering by local sign painter Carolyn Macartney, who drew inspiration from old timey grocery stores and shops with varying fonts, greets guests on the front window of the building.

The new art space is the second of the Webb’s Texas galleries, the first being their original Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, about 40 miles south of Dallas, which they have run for over 30 years. They are still operating that location and bouncing back and forth between the two, updating their website with their hours, which Julie said seems to be working so far.

“What I’ve decided is that both locations are open by event, by appointment and luck,” said Julie.

Many of their longtime friends and clients have visited their “Webb Gallery West” location, which, Julie said, runs — and looks — a little different from their spot in Waxahachie. For example, because the lodge is partly made out of adobe, artwork hangs on a wiring system versus directly on the wall. Plus, the Fort Davis location is more of a tourism heavy area, said Julie, bringing in a varied clientele. 

For now, the Webbs are focusing their efforts on the lodge hall, but plan to one day open a bookstore in the next door Scobee Adobe, which they have recently opened up for more seating by removing its old screened in porch. Julie said as the space takes shape she’s trying to take cues from the community about their cultural needs. 

“I’ve been feeling out what I felt like I wanted, what the community wanted, and what people didn’t have access to there that I could give,” said Julie. 

For more information, visit webbartgallery.com/#howdy or follow @webbgallery on Instagram.